Truckers Spend the Holidays Driving Too Much for Too Little Pay
A lack of good food options is just the beginning of the issues truck drivers face. Many make paltry amounts of money, even as they spend long hours in a tiny space a long way from home. The median income for America’s 1.8 million truck drivers is $42,000 annually, and those in the bottom 10 percent of earners make just $27,000.
It hasn’t always been this way. In the last 30 years, truck driver pay has plummeted. According to the National Transportation Institute, if wages in the industry had kept up with inflation since 1980, the average driver would be making $111,000 per year. Other estimates don’t show that dramatic of a drop, but even conservative ones calculate drivers should be making some $55,000 today.
The reason for the steep drop is a web of bad policies, but much of the problem stems from the way in which workers are compensated: By the mile, not the hour.